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Comment: Re:Strange quality problems (Score 2) 96

by DerekLyons (#49705589) Attached to: Russian Rocket Crashes In Siberia

For decades launching these rockets was not a problem for Russia.

Actually, for several decades, they had just about as many problems as they do now... and their success ratio was more-or-less in the same range (.98-.99) as the Shuttle (or pretty much any other launcher*). The only things that have significantly changed is that until the fall of the Soviet Union you never heard about the failures in the first place, and in the last decade or so the failures have started being covered in the non-specialist/popular press. These changes have conspired to create the illusion of 'extremely reliable' Soviet/Russian boosters and a recent and unusual string of failures.

* Yes, essentially all boosters that end up in regular service pretty much end up in this narrow range. There's a few a hair lower, and few a bit higher, but they're outliers.

Comment: Re:Too much (Score 1) 277

by DerekLyons (#49704011) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Keychain?

I try to keep my keychain as small as possible. So I have a house key, a work key, and a USB key (super tiny).

This. My keychain has my house key, my garage/shop key (it's a seperate building from the house), my car key, my wife's car key. That's it. Other than that, I carry a lighter, my cigarettes, a pen, a sharpie, a medium swiss army knife, and my phone.

I have no need to carry a complete toolbox in my pockets, and have never grasped those who do.

Comment: Re:Luck plays a more important role than people kn (Score 1) 126

by DerekLyons (#49703983) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

I'd give him good odds of succeeding, too, either with alternative financing, or by closing the doors and starting over, or... something. And maybe he wouldn't have managed it, but I guarantee he wouldn't just have given up and said "Well, bad luck, I'm out". Because people who would do that don't get to where Musk is, no matter how lucky they are.

Other than blind celebrity worship - I can see no basis for that assumption. Musk got to where he was precisely because he was lucky.

Successful people are those who are smart, hard-working and persistent.

Musk fails to meet that criteria. He struck it rich, twice, right out of the gate. He never needed persistence.

Comment: Re:The mice again! (Score 4, Informative) 126

by DerekLyons (#49697801) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

What would be to point of sending mice to Mars?... unless it was about sending the mice to Mars.

When it comes to manned exploration of the Solar system, there's two areas we pretty much have little to no understanding of;

- long term biological effects at other than 1G or 0G.
- long term radiation effects outside the Earth's magnetosphere.

As it turns out, these are the two things we absolutely must have an understanding of to venture long term beyond LEO.

Comment: Re:Explain this one to me (Score 1) 124

by DerekLyons (#49692309) Attached to: Hackers Using Starbucks Gift Cards To Access Credit Cards

Then what's the use in hacking one?

You don't hack a card, you hack the app.

I can take money from your account and put it on a card (or access code) in my possession. I can then resell the card (or the access code).

So, how the scam works is - a) I buy a card from Starbucks for $5, then since the cards are infinitely reloadable b) I hack your account and move money (say $100) from your account to my card and disconnect it from the account, c) I resell the cards for $50.

There's a lot of places Starbucks can detect and halt this fraud, since it all passed through their servers... they just don't or won't.

Comment: Re:Discrimination (Score 1) 170

In fact you could argue that Urschel is in a position where he can evaluate the probability of potential risks and impacts and make an informed decision on whether to play whereas many players can't.

Since he has no medical training - why would you even think he's in a better position to do so? Being able to evaluate the mathematical probability of injury != being able to evaluate the medical risks. Two entirely different problem domains.

And that's setting aside the issue that we don't really have the data to properly evaluate the medical risks in the first place. We know there's a risk of brain damage (there's existence proof of it happening), but it currently can't be well quantified because the underlying data is noisy, incomplete, and of questionable precision and accuracy. We can't say "player X you should stop playing now because of accumulated damage", because we don't have an accurate gauge of the severity or effects of individual events, let alone their cumulative impacts.

Comment: Re:Navy? Warships? (Score 1) 101

For exposure to seawater, because seawater is used to fight fires at-sea because of its abundance?

Which does not constitute routine exposure. Materials not routinely exposed to salt water on warships recieve no especial protection against it.

Because the salty air and high humidity at sea means that even those parts that are not in direct contact with the ocean water will still be exposed? Because storms tends to create waves that splash water all over the place, including places that are not normally wet and even places that effort is made to keep water out of?

The first isn't nearly as true as you might think, especially for larger warships. (Which are air conditioned and humidity controlled.) The second is also essentially not true for anything much beyond any openings to the weather deck.

Comment: Re:Navy? Warships? (Score 0) 101

For all I know they've concocted a magnesium alloy for these ships that's both good at handling the corrosive effects of saltwater (along with magnesium's reactivity) and have managed to mitigate the dangers of exposure to fire or explosion, much in th way that sodium hexafluoride (the gas whose density can lower the pitch of one's voice as demonstrated on Mythbusters many seasons ago) is relatively safe compared to fluorine gas, but I'd still be nervous that some other failure mode hasn't been discovered that could be catastrophic down the road.

Why do you assume that just because it's on a ship, it's routinely exposed to seawater? (Very little of a Navy ship is actually routinely exposed to seawater.) And why do you assume the foams claimed by the summary (but not supported anywhere in the article) to be in use by the Navy are magnesium?

Comment: Re:Well duh (Score 4, Insightful) 44

by DerekLyons (#49675263) Attached to: MuckRock FOIA Request Releases Christopher Hitchens' FBI Files

No shit. My FBI file (the last time I saw it) ran fifty plus pages. (Courtesy of getting a significant clearance and a couple of compartmentalized accesses.)

Actually reading the linked files... most of them are just noise, routine bureaucratic acknowledgements of something or other. When you summarize what's left it adds up to "we looked into this guy, nothing significant found, nothing to worry about". Nothing scary, nothing more than I'd expect of foreign national travelling in the US, or of someone becoming a citizen, or of someone getting a White House press pass.

Move along, nothing to see here except clickbait meant to excite the usual easily excitable demographic.

Comment: Re:if I am dead (Score 1) 182

by DerekLyons (#49667345) Attached to: The Challenge of Web Hosting Once You're Dead

The first is obvious-Your website makes a profit, and you want your family members to continue to profit in your absence.

If the profit comes from the content you created, it's going to fall off almost exponentially with each week that passes with you no longer at the controls. The problem with websites that make a profit isn't keeping the lights on, that's trivial. The problem is keeping the cash flowing, and that's much much harder than just making sure there's a trusted person who pays the domain registrar and occasionally updates the software.

Comment: Re:if I am dead (Score 1) 182

by DerekLyons (#49667313) Attached to: The Challenge of Web Hosting Once You're Dead

Third type of website is a public service. Maybe you're not making money off it, but people like it. An example of this would be: Capgeek. Its owner got sick and passed away. No one runs it anymore because he put a lot of work into it, and no one could maintain it.

Then what's the point of keeping the lights on? Within a few weeks, a few months at best... the content is stale. Within a year, it's of historical value at best. Within two, it gets maybe ten hits a day.

Best to let the wayback machine handle it, and have the site itself go dark.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.